Archive | November, 2014

Another Birthday

29 Nov

The Squire celebrated his mumble-mumblety birthday today very quietly at home. Since yesterday was our anniversary, we did it up last night, and planned to take it easy today. It didn’t work out exactly as planned.

When I tied Blazer out this morning, there was a deer in the field and he took off running. Somehow, he managed to catch the rope on my license place and ripped it off the front of the car, flinging it across the yard. Great start to the morning!

After he got that taken care of, The Squire headed over to church to work on the printer network – one more time. The laptop the treasurer uses is running Windows XP, the rector uses something else, and the secretary is using a third system. Every once in a while, the printer just ups and throws a hissy fit, and while The Squire is no longer the Property Warden, he is still in charge of keeping the computers up and running – and trying to maintain his sanity at the same time. He came home to chicken soup, courtesy of the Thanksgiving Dinner, and then we began to work on our Christmas cards.

We have an Open House every year on the third Sunday in Advent, so our cards need to go out fairly early. I purchase cards from House-Mouse Designs, and we print our invitation on the inside. This year, we have a new printer, and I honestly thought The Squire was going to tear out what little hair he still has left.  That printer gave him fits. It wouldn’t allow for a custom size paper, printed double-sided on two cards (no, we didn’t tell it to do that) and then suddenly decided not to work at all. I didn’t know if I should stick around and “help”, or just try to keep out of his hair.

All is well, and we will address the cards tomorrow.

Happy Anniversary

28 Nov

our weddingThe Squire and I have been married forty years, as of today. Actually, including the fact that we knew each other for nine years before we got married, we’re closing in on fifty years.

And we’ve both loved every minute of it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

27 Nov

This has been quite a week.

Monday, I went to the doctor and convinced her that iron supplements are NOT the answer to my problems. The mail is still moving down south, so to speak, and that’s only on half the dosage she prescribed.  Yes, I’m still anemic. Yes, I still resemble a light bulb in a wig, and No, iron isn’t going to help.  Now we’re going to try Vitamin D – 2,000 units a day. Go away and leave me alone.

Eldest Daughter had invited BFF and me to go to the Amish markets in Shrewsbury on Tuesday, just to get out of the house for a while. Local Granddaughter and her baby girl were going along, and I don’t get a chance to see them very often, so I was looking forward to the trip. BFF had a doctor’s appointment at 10:00, so we were to meet at Eldest Daughter’s house at 10:30 or so.

The Squire always gets up earlier than I do, and he popped into the bedroom to ask what time I had to be in Forest Hill. I mumbled an answer and he said he was going over to church and left the room; I rolled over and looked at the clock, and it was almost 9! I hit the floor at a dead run, as it takes about a half an hour to get up the road. Getting dressed takes longer than it should, as I am still essentially one-handed, but I managed to make myself presentable, if not beautiful, and left the house at 9:45.  Just as I got into the car, I remembered I needed to return something I had borrowed from Eldest Daughter, and had to go back inside. Couldn’t find it. After much frantic searching I located it – in my purse, where I had put it so I wouldn’t forget it.

Now I was really running at a dead clip. There is a large tree about halfway up the hill which sticks out into the drive and you have to go around it, or hit it. I was in such a rush that I over-steered and managed to throw myself across the drive and propelled my car over the wall that goes along that side. I called BFF and told her to go on to Eldest Daughter’s without me. Fortunately, her doctor’s appointment had just ended and she offered to come get me. I called The Squire at church, told him what had happened, and left my AAA card on the counter for him.  What with one thing and another we managed to get away from Forest Hill a little after 11:00.

He did not, by the way, have too much to say about this stunt, because he has backed into that tree himself – twice. Once in each direction.  Tail lights are expensive to replace.

I get so tickled at all of the “rules” Local Granddaughter tells me you should or shouldn’t do with new babies.  Don’t put them in snowsuits, because the suits don’t compress enough to buckle the child securely into the car seat.  Don’t do this, you must do that. Yeesh. Of course, today’s truth is tomorrow’s lie, and vice versa, and it’s her baby, so I just do as she says. When her mom and the Middle Daughter were babies, I got conflicting advice from everybody, which made me very insecure, so I just nod and let her do it her way.

We really had a good time in Shrewsbury.  I don’t think any of us spend much money. I splurged on an ice cream cone and a dish of rice pudding with raisins (Hey, I’m a cheap date.) but I was actually looking for a roasting chicken, as Thanksgiving dinner would be only The Squire, my brother-in-law and myself, so I didn’t want a turkey. All the market had was parts, so I ended up at the local super market after all.

Both The Squire and I worked very hard around the house yesterday, playing pick-up-and-put-away, doing laundry, getting veggies and such prepped for today, and then went to the Ecumenical Thanksgiving service in the evening.  As a result, I was on my feet far too long. Last night, my back decided to give me a fit, and I was tossing and turning like a rowboat in a storm. I finally came downstairs and took a heavy duty pain pill, and whipped up a batch of bread while I waited for it to kick in. What with one thing and another, it was after 2 AM before I managed to get to sleep.

It was nice to have BIL here today. He is a really great guy, and I know he is lonely in that house. He is getting ready to move into a continuing care community – the same one my parents were in – and is trying to parcel out things to the kids and grandkids, trying to decide what to take and what to keep, making difficult decisions about disposing of things, and he really needed a break.  I think he is well suited to living at Charlestown, as there are lots of activities and it is close to where he currently lives so he can keep in touch with old friends. And he won’t be missing my sister everywhere he looks.

I really enjoyed the chance to fix a real meal and set a fine table. When I first retired from Blue Cross, The Squire was still working, and I had a nice meal ready for him every night – the sterling, the good dishes, the whole nine yards. Now, with both of us home, we are on such wacky schedules that we can’t seem to get organized enough to have a decent meal.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

A Few Surprises

20 Nov

The Squire and I went to a meeting last night, and came home about 10 PM. As our headlights swung around the bend in the drive, we startled a great blue who was sleeping in the middle of our back yard. Hard to tell which of us was the most surprised, to tell the truth. The poor bird started to fly away, got tangled in the clothes line, fell back to the ground and stalked off into the dark with as much dignity as he could manage.

Blazer likes to chew on his dish. A rawhide bone apparently has nothing on the delicate taste of a well-seasoned plastic bowl. Consequently, the dish resembles a small green colander. This is absolutely something I must remember when I pour milk over his morning kibble.  As a result of this minor flood, I staggered over to our local metropolis to purchase a new, sturdier, bowl and pick up some wrapping paper, so I can get a running start on the Christmas gifts, and then to the grocery for a few items Aldi’s doesn’t carry.

In the store, I ran into my girlfriend Karen, who came here from a northern European country. I don’t know if they are as enamored with ATMs there as much as we are in America, but she simply has no use for them.  She had gone into the bank to deposit a check, and there was not a single teller at any of the windows, so she marched up to the manager and asked him (rather forcefully, if I know her as well as I think I do) to take care of this for her. He allowed as how he didn’t know how to handle a deposit, and she would have to use the machine in the lobby.

“You’re the manager here?”


“Well, suppose you tell me how you can be a supervisor when you don’t even know what it is your people do.

And she stomped out.

I hope there were a dozen other people in the building at the time. I really do!


19 Nov

Well, Friday I did something I have never done before in the nearly thirty years I have been a temp. I forgot an assignment. The site boss called here at 8:30, just as I was coming downstairs from bed, asking where I was. While The Squire fixed me an on-the-go breakfast, I got dressed in the first thing that fell out of the closet. I made it to work by 10:00.

Sunday night, I was so keyed up about getting to work on time that it seemed as if I barely slept so by the time I got home Monday evening I was ready to drop. Tuesday was just the way it was supposed to be; I slept well, had time for a decent breakfast and got to work with a few minutes to spare.

I have been the “permanent temp” switchboard at this medical supply manufacturer for about six or seven years, and I really like it. Nice, nice people – the cafeteria always has something interesting for vegetarians – but it’s a big place and it takes a while to figure out what calls go where, so they call me in, rather than try to train somebody else. They did want me for a week while I was in my cast, but since I couldn’t drive, they had the security guards take over the job. They take the board when I’m on breaks or at lunch, but they really can’t spare them for a whole day, never mind an entire week.

The only problem with working switchboards is that you can’t make the phone ring. Of course, sometimes you can’t make it stop, either, but mostly I sit there and get paid for reading a book.  Talking about boring! I can go through an entire though an entire mystery in a day, with time left over. The IT Department removed all the games from everyone’s computer, so I can’t even play Free Cell or Solitaire.

Someday, they’re going to have to wake me up so I can go home!


16 Nov

OK, it doesn’t sound like much, but today I managed to touch my thumb to the tip of my pinky.

During coffee hour after church this morning, I was showing my hand to a lady in the congregation who had this same thumb surgery a year ago, pointing out some of my aches and pains and asking it they were normal. I have absolutely no grip between my thumb and my forefinger; I couldn’t even pull a number at the deli counter Friday night, and she said it had taken her about six months. In the meantime, she said I should try picking up pennies with my right hand.

The Squire and Fr. M were there, and I was demonstrating how far I could reach with my thumb. The index finger and middle finger are no problem, but my ring finger is tricky, and my pinky is just about impossible. I held up my hand and they were about a quarter inch apart. With a mighty effort, I managed to make them meet, and the pain almost brought tears to my eyes.  Fr. M reached across the table and took my hand in both of his. “Can you do that again?” I managed, but it wasn’t easy.

“I can see the tendons in your arm and feel the tension in the entire hand. You need to get a cortisone shot and some PT on this thing.”

So tomorrow I shall call my doctor and tell him my rector says I need physical therapy. Actually, Fr. M is an EMT, so it’s perfectly reasonable, and The Squire has been hounding me about it, too.

But I did manage to get my fingers together! Ta, dah!


Red Tails

13 Nov

I have been lollygagging. Between my thumb and this stupid rash I have not felt up to doing much. Well, it’s not a very good excuse, but it’s the best one I can think of at the moment.

Monday evening, the 10th, a standing-room-only bunch of us went to the local library to hear a talk from one of the last surviving Tuskegee Red Tails. For those of you who have not heard of these gentlemen, they were the first black – all black – flying group in the United States, founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt and her friend Mary McLeod Bethune. At that time, the military was strictly segregated, and any blacks were cooks, broom pushers and garbage men, but these two ladies saw a great untapped potential and “convinced” poor Franklin (he didn’t stand a chance against two such determined women.) that this was all a good idea.

And it was.

There is plenty written about them on the Internet, so I won’t go into it all of it here. The gentleman who spoke to us was not himself an original Red Tail. He normally acted as an escort, but the original program had been scheduled for some time in September and had to be postponed because that speaker was ill, and then the man who was to talk to us on Monday had just gotten out of the hospital, so the escort felt enough was enough, and he did the presentation. (These men are all WWII vets, and a bit on the old and feeble side, so someone younger always accompanies them. The speaker was a retired pilot who had served in Viet Nam, Desert Storm,  and (I think) the Bosnian conflict, and was a member of a sort of axillary group.) There are also many women who qualify as Red Tails, as they worked as ground crews, repairing engines, packing parachutes, and so forth. “Flying isn’t all airplanes, y’know. You have ten men in a bomber and about forty people on the ground, backing them up, fueling planes, checking for damage, and so forth.”

It is not true that the Red Tails never lost a bomber; they did lose 27, but the average was 48, so that is not too bad a score.  The base commander had wanted the tails of the planes painted with some sort of insignia, and all they could find was red paint, so red it was. Or, he said, we could have “thinned it with white and painted them pink”.

The children in the audience were absolutely fascinated. One little girl simply could not grasp the idea that blacks and white were not allow to associate with each other. Another story was about two pilots who were grounded for some infraction, and a young man wondered out loud “how do you ground a grownup?”

The Godson, who is black, came along, rather unwillingly, although he admitted later he was glad I had insisted he join us.  He knows about the “separate but equal” policy, and asked if “you guys got all the old planes”.  The speaker said that when the U.S. entered the war, “all anybody had was old planes” but that as soon as new planes came off the assembly line, the Red Tails got them along with everybody else.

There are fifty chapters in the States, so if you ever get a chance to see one of these gentlemen before they join their lost comrades, do so. It is inspiring.


8 Nov

The Squire and I are both serious readers. When we find an author we like, we will go to any lengths to get all the books in that particular series, so we can read them from the beginning. It is understood that the spouse with a book in hand is to be dusted off as necessary, but otherwise left undisturbed.

Last night, The Squire found that two books by one of his favorite authors were available at a library branch not too far from us – not our local branch, which is virtually around the corner. He had exactly fifteen minutes before the branch closed, and raced out of here as if his library card was on fire, screeching into the parking lot with seconds to spare.

He sat down at the dining room table, and was soon in outer space. When I bent over to kiss him good-night, I startled him, as he obviously wasn’t expecting me to be on Safehold, or whatever planet he was visiting.  I have no idea what time he came back to Earth – or to bed.

While he was at church this morning, I decided it was time to clean off the dining room table, before one end of it collapsed, and spent a fair amount of time putting away, and throwing away. You’d be amazed at the amount of clutter that can accumulate on a table built for eight people. I swear, goblins come in and drop stuff on that table – I don’t recognize half of the things there.

A few minutes ago, The Squire came into the den in an absolute panic. “Where are my library books? You didn’t return them, did you?”

“No, I put them upstairs on the table next to the guest room sofa, where you usually read them.”

He nearly collapsed with relief. Honestly, I do love that man.

The Princess and the Pea, Part 2

6 Nov

Back in the spring, I broke out in a rash which covered large portions of my legs and torso, as well as my hands and lower arms. Just great rolling welts, which itched and hurt like the bloody devil. Neither our GP or the dermatologist knew what caused it, although they gave me a broad-spectrum cream which did help with the itching.

But not much.

Monday was the first day I’ve been back to the Y since I had my hand surgery in September, and I woke up Tuesday morning covered with the rash again. It had disappeared so gradually, and I was so involved with my hand, that I hadn’t really noticed that it was gone, but boy! did I know it was back.

Apparently, I am allergic to something in the swimming pool. I don’t know if they are using extra chlorine because everybody is on this big “germ” kick, or if it’s something that’s only used in commercial pools, but it is brutal, whatever it is.

Tuesday night, after I’d dug myself bloody, I went down and soaked in a bathtub full of baking soda and oatmeal (the fish downstream should eat well) for about an hour, had a glass of wine, and went back to up bed at 2 AM. Yesterday morning I went over to the druggist and he gave me a hydrocortisone ointment which is working wonders.

Who’d have thought…

Lesser of Two Evils

4 Nov

The Squire and I trotted out this morning to vote, and were very pleasantly surprised at the turnout. Lots of cars on the parking lot, and even a few on the streets.  Most of the time, I’ve seen livelier morgues.

Several years ago there was a tremendous dust-up because most of the bond votes (borrowing money for schools, roads, etc.) were written in such obscure legalese people had no idea if they were voting yea or nay. The last couple of elections, these things have been written in plain English, so at least you know what you’re doing.

The governor’s race is a mess. One candidate presumably hired a bunch of political friends  to roll out the Affordable Care Act, and it was  bolloxed royally. Had to be redone nearly from scratch, cost the earth, and nobody was happy. The other candidate has an absolutely abysmal voting record.  He seems to have forgotten that Roe vs. Wade was settled decades ago, and is trying to make abortions almost impossible to get in this state. Mind you, I’m not in favor of them, but I don’t have to answer for it on Judgment Day, and what you do is your business and not mine.  This fellow has also voted to increase the amount of lead allowed in the paint of children’s toys, and I DO have a problem with that. And the list goes on.

Since the schools were closed, the Girl Scout Troop had a cookie stand in the lobby, so the day was not a total loss. At least I got a box of Caramel Delites out of the day.